Monday, January 30, 2023

Crazy UCL qualification rule hands Chelsea and Tottenham nightmare Champions League scenario

Crazy UCL qualification rule hands Chelsea and Tottenham nightmare Champions League scenario

After a late goal transformed the complexion of qualifying on Wednesday night, Chelsea and Tottenham might face a nightmare scenario in next week’s Champions League round of 16 draw.

The Blues and Spurs won their respective groups, Tottenham in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night with a late goal against Marseille, to ensure they are seeded in the round of 16 draw on Monday.

This indicates that they will not face Real Madrid or Bayern Munich in the next round.

Nonetheless, there are notable teams that placed second in their respective groups. And after some late-game drama, one European giant dropped to second place in the group.

Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica qualified for the round of 16 in Group H prior to Wednesday night’s last round of matches, securing their spots in the draw for the next round. However, the winner was still up for grabs.

Kylian Mbappe’s early goal appeared to give PSG the advantage, but they were pegged back by Juventus, while Benfica and Maccabi Haifa were tied at halftime. In the second half, both clubs seized the lead, and with the head-to-head record level (two 1-1 draws between the two sides), it came down to goal difference, with PSG having the decisive advantage.

Benfica scored in the 88th minute to make things interesting after taking a 4-1 lead over Maccabi. At that moment, PSG still held a one-goal edge, but a sixth goal scored by the Portuguese side in the 92nd minute leveled the score.

PSG and Benfica had nearly equal records at that point: same number of wins, draws, losses, head-to-head record, goal differential, and goals scored. According to UEFA regulations, clubs that finish with the same number of points are separated as follows:

  • Higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  • Superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question;
  • Higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question;
  • Those three criteria are then applied to the other teams in the group;
  • Superior goal difference in all group matches;
  • Higher number of goals scored in all group matches

Neither PSG nor Benfica could be separated by these criteria, so the seventh criterion was used to determine the group champion: the team that scored most away goals in all group matches. Benfica scored nine goals in their 6-1 victory in Israel, while PSG scored six.

This means that PSG will finished second in their group and will enter Monday’s round of 16 draw with the potential of meeting any group winner other than Benfica. 

This includes Chelsea and Tottenham, who will want to avoid the French superstars.

Other teams Chelsea and Tottenham can face:

Inter Milan

Borussia Dortmund

Eintracht Frankfurt (not Spurs)

AC Milan (not Chelsea)

RB Leipzig

Inter Milan

Club Brugge

Crazy UCL qualification rule hands Chelsea and Tottenham nightmare Champions League scenario

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